Mexican LCC Interjet is set to add inflight connectivity to its fleet. The carrier will add Panasonic Avionics‘ eXConnect solution to its new A320 & A321 fleet starting later this year. The initial aircraft will be delivered from Airbus in November 2017, and this A321neo aircraft will be the first Panasonic-equipped aircraft to be line fit with connectivity at the Airbus factory.
The deal covers 40 new aircraft, starting with the November delivery. The existing fleet is not currently slated to be fitted with connectivity as part of this deal, leading to an inconsistent user experience. The existing 54 A320-family planes range in age but just over a dozen were delivered in the past 20 months. Retrofitting those would still leave a split fleet but could make sense in some circumstances based on expected in-service time and leasing arrangements.
At Interjet, we pride ourselves on delivering the very best experience to our guests. With this announcement, we will now offer our passengers a high definition theater-like entertainment experience with high-speed connectivity services that will keep them connected and productive. This is truly a fantastic milestone for Interjet, and we are very excited to once again partner with Panasonic. – Julio Gamero, Chief Commercial Officer of Interjet
Interjet is a longtime customer of PAC’s but previously only for in-flight entertainment. And even that is limited to only overhead monitors in most aircraft. New planes will continue to only receive the overhead screens. So, very much a theater-like environment where everyone watches the same content at the same time without individual choice.
With the wireless infrastructure being installed to support eXConnect perhaps Interjet will also consider activating the streaming content option on board. Such a move carries costs to the airline, both in securing content to deliver to passengers and typically to PAC as well for the systems, but the hardware is in place.
Or Interjet could just assume passengers will use their bandwidth allocations to consume media from the ground while on board. Of course, if Interjet also implements megabyte package pricing for passengers as so many other eXConnect customers have that’s not going to work out so well.
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